It’s 01:42am. Iris is wide awake, sitting in her high chair playing with a weird toy with three heads that my mum bought for her. I’m drinking endless cups of hot chocolate and waiting for her to get hungry again. I know that feeding her is the only thing that will make her sleep. I’m not complaining. She’s not crying. She’s happy, she’s just not tired. We don’t have very many nights like this anymore.
Now seems like a good time to talk about our days, how they go. Most days are a variation of this day, with some changes. The main pattern stays the same.
Iris sleeps in late. Usually until around 9am, but she has been known to sleep til 10. Don’t tell me I’m lucky. She rarely sleeps before midnight and she wakes me up several times in the night. I usually stay in bed til she wakes, silently begging her to sleep longer. Even though I’m awake much earlier, the extra peace and rest makes the mornings bearable.
Our main aim in the morning is to get dressed, maybe do a bit of washing up, walk the dog, and hopefully get out of the house for a bit. We never achieve all of those things.
Usually Iris sits and plays while I try to have breakfast, drink 5 or 6 cups of coffee and have a shower. I never finish. Sometimes I miss breakfast. Sometimes I have to jump out of the shower with shampoo still in my hair. We’re never ever ready before midday and I’ve completely given up on doing anything in the morning, despite that being when most of the baby groups are.
Around midday, or even 1pm on a bad day, we’re dressed. Iris needs a morning nap, but fights it and fights it so much that by this time she’s seriously cranky. I need adult interaction but can’t go anywhere yet because we still haven’t walked the dog. I know that walking the dog is the only thing that will make Iris sleep too, so on go my wellies and we trudge off to the mountain. Sometimes Trev walks Seb before work, so we can go into town at this point instead.
There’s no point trying to cut Seb’s walk short. He becomes quite impossible to live with if he doesn’t get a full hour at least once a day. I love the walk though. It clears my head and I like cuddling Iris and listening to her snore.
It’s anywhere between 1 and 2pm by this point. I’ve maybe managed to put a load in the washing machine or washed half of the dishes from dinner the night before. There’s so much that needs doing. Our house looks, at all times, like we’ve been recently burgled. There is nothing I can do about this. I give up and eat lunch over Iris’ head as she pins me to the sofa for a long feed that often lasts an hour.
So it’s mid afternoon. I play with Iris and try to keep her entertained. She’s at an annoying age where she’s easily bored but can’t yet actually do anything. I snatch the odd moment while she’s bouncing in her Jumperoo to dust a surface or fold a few pairs of jeans. I never finish anything I start. In fact I’m sure my attempts at sorting things out just make the house even messier.
At some point Trev will text and says he’s on his way home, and usually ask what we want for dinner too. It has to be something he can grab from a shop on his way home because it’s been weeks since I found the time to do proper food shopping. Once he’s home we prepare food and eat, usually one at a time while the other entertains Iris. Then we spend some time together briefly, before the bedtime routine begins.
He baths Iris and I usually attempt to put some laundry away or tidy up. While I get Iris to sleep Trev gets everything ready for work the next day and does more tidying up if he’s not too tired. He comes up. We all attempt to go to sleep, but I rarely do. I’m usually too wired and worn out.
An hour later Iris is awake. Sometimes she’s so wide awake that we end up back downstairs watching depressing stuff on the news and drinking hot chocolate. Listening to Trev snore over the baby monitor and wishing we could swap places. Just like tonight. At some point she will settle and we will sleep. Like tonight.
I don’t mind any of this, really. I made the decision to never leave Iris to cry, to always react quickly when she needs me. I made the decision to put her before anything else, always. I don’t regret that decision, even when I feel like everything is falling apart and I haven’t slept in days. Her baby years will go by so fast, and I know I won’t regret a single cuddle. I won’t regret leaving the washing up for days because she wants to be held. I will be glad I stayed by her side and I will always feel good about the strong bond we have.
I only regret not having the money to employ a cleaner.
It’s 02:21am. Goodnight world.